- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

ANNAPOLIS — Despite the rain, the near-freezing conditions and a sparse crowd, it was a beautiful day for the Navy lacrosse team.

Joe Bossi scored four goals and Steve Looney added three goals and 10 groundballs as the 11th-ranked Midshipmen dominated Hobart in the second half en route to a 13-8 victory and the outright lead in the Patriot League before 310 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“It was a great day to play,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “It sounds crazy. It was raining, wet, the ball was on the ground a lot. … I just thought it was like a rock-and-roll lacrosse game, an old-style lacrosse game. I told the team it was nice to see a Navy lacrosse team run another team into the ground.”

Looney sparked the second-half rally with his play on the wing during faceoffs, as well as his work in the Mids’ midfield. The sophomore scored twice in transition while helping Navy (4-1, 3-0) win 11 of 16 faceoffs in the second and third quarters.

“He has an uncanny knack of getting the ball when it is on the ground,” Meade said. “If he was a long stick he’d probably knock the ball down a lot. He just has the ability to focus and come up with the ball and do something with it in transition.”

After trailing 6-5 at the half, Navy wasted little time taking command in the third quarter. Looney snared a groundball off the opening faceoff, sprinted downfield and fired a shot off the right post. It caromed right to Bossi, who easily deposited it to tie the game.

Navy took a brief one-goal lead before the Statesmen (2-2, 2-1) answered, but Bossi then scored two straight as part of a 3-0 run. Hobart eventually closed within 10-8 with 7:07 left in the third, but when Ben Horn’s nifty triple-pump 15 seconds later eventually faked out Hobart goalie Dan Valente (10 saves), it was clear the Mids were in control.

Navy’s defense took over from there, shutting out Hobart for the final 22:07. The Statesmen didn’t have much possession late in the game as the Mids fell back on a ball-control approach. Hobart’s few scoring chances in the final quarter were stymied by Navy goalie Matt Russell (nine saves).

The Statesmen roared to a 5-2 lead. Hobart capitalized on a pair of extra-man opportunities and also exploited a surprisingly tentative Navy defense.

The Mids eventually rebounded, rattling off three goals in a span of more than two minutes before the Statesmen scored with 1:47 left in the second to take a lead into halftime.

“Not that Hobart isn’t a good team, but I thought we were giving them too much respect,” Meade said. “I thought we were waiting for them to execute their plays instead of going out and putting pressure on them.”

Navy will continue a stretch of league games Saturday when it faces Colgate in Orlando, Fla. Defeats of the Raiders (2-2, 0-0) and archrival Army (3-1, 1-0) a week later would give the Mids the inside track for the opportunity to play host to the Patriot tournament as the league’s No.1 seed at the end of the season.

“It’s huge,” Bossi said. “We want home-field advantage for the tournament. We still have to play Colgate and Army, so the next two games are huge, too.”

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